Keen followers of the UK’s policy around future immigration will have noted several recent statements on the issue. In a nutshell, they addressed the proposed new Points Based system for immigration into the UK moving forward. It would appear that the aim of the UK Government is have this new system in place as from January 2021. Naturally, this has left many people wondering about how such a system will work and if it can be implemented in such a short timescale.
New immigration advice must be clear
The current UK immigration regulations run to over 55 parts and numerous appendices. With such a short space of time to plan and implement fresh Points Based laws, it is obvious that any new legislation must be a lot more concise. The UK Government has already acknowledged this and stated that they will take measures to avoid the new system being too complicated. With talk already being around reviews once the new scheme is in place though, this may not be so easy.
What might the new Points Based system entail?
Of course, the big question for any immigration solicitor or person looking to enter the UK post-January 2021 is how any new laws may work. We are hearing the phrase ‘Australian type Points Based system’ more frequently now and this gives us an idea. Any scheme like this would assign points for certain qualifications, specialist skills and professions. People wanting to come into the UK would then only be awarded a VISA if they scored over a certain number of points.
But is this such a big change? In general terms, the current UK immigration laws operate along these lines so any new system may not feel much different. The real nub of any fresh immigration laws will lie around how so-called lower skilled migrants are treated. Many fear that migrant workers who fall into this category could be effectively priced out of the market under new laws or told their jobs are not skilled enough to gain entry.
What could the effects on the UK business sector be?
The plans to end the flow of migrant workers coming into the UK to fill vacancies in areas like social care could have far reaching effects. Many sectors already report that there are simply not enough UK applicants to fill empty jobs. Pret A Manger for example has stated that just 1 in 50 applicants for their vacant jobs are British! If the flow of migrant workers who currently pick up the slack ends, will we have enough people in the UK to fill empty roles?
What does the current UK Government say?
The Government’s response to these concerns has been to encourage the country to train its workforce better. Recent figures quoted from Priti Patel indicate that 8 million UK citizens between 16 and 64 are not economically active. If the UK is to implement the new system in January 2021 as planned, this looks like an area that will have to be improved on very quickly.
Of course, UK employers must also be aware of the new Points Based system for January 2021. The policy statement released has key information around right to work checks and advice for those firms who will sponsor migrants as from 2021. Getting familiar with the new ways of working and how fresh regulations affect them will be key for all UK companies.
Points Based system will soon be here
Government figures estimate that a massive 70% of the current workforce around the EU will not score enough points to gain entry under the new system. This highlights the scale of any changes and the amount of work that the Government has to do in order to have everything ready. When you also think of other issues in this area, like how foreign University students will be treated, it will be by no means straightforward.